Kingship and Government Between Macbeth and Trump

by Maximilian Rudolph

The way Trump leads his “kingdom” is debated, and rightfully so. The relatively apparent parallels between his and Macbeth’s leadership are both amusing and extremely unsettling. Until now at least, it’s January 20th and Joe Biden is taking office today.


Anyway, you couldn’t exactly say “Trump is like Macbeth” but their way of leading their people is in part quite similar.


Masculinity, or the lack of it, played an important role in Macbeth and other Shakespeare plays. And it is a big factor for President Trump as well. Despite the very present gender and equality debate, Trump encourages and promotes male stereotypes and macho behaviour. His whole political career is built on obsolete male stereotypes and the corresponding subordinating female ones. In the play, it’s Lady Macbeth that uses masculinity as leverage against her husband, not the leader using it as leverage against an entire population. However, the motif stays the same.

What can also be seen as a similarity is the evolution of the leaders both in Macbeth and in the USA. Firstly, the contrast between the ideal king “Duncan” from Shakespeare and his successor Macbeth is intentionally drastic. Something similar, however not equal, can be said for the change from Obama to Trump. While Obama was by far no ideal president, the contrast to Trump almost makes you think he was.All of that on top of the obvious corruption present in both leaderships.These similarities seem alarming, especially because it’s most of Macbeth’s negative traits that compare very well to Trump.

But the difference between the two is probably what’s even scarier to me. While Macbeth had to kill the current king to gain power and thus unrightfully inherited the throne, Trump has been elected. Apart from the electoral fraud allegations against Trump, the people of America have WILLINGLY decided on him, chose him as their leader. This man has gained power in a (more or less) rightful and legal way. That is what’s scary to me. That doesn’t just tell the story of a horrible president but also one of an almost entire population that needs saving.

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